Ganoderma lucidum has been identified as a promising agent for prostate cancer with in vitro evidence showing inhibition of hormone dependent and independent prostate cancer cells through multiple pathways, including binding to androgen receptor, inhibition of the active transcription factors: NF-kB and AP-1, inhibition of urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) and its receptor uPAR, as well as cell adhesion and cell migration of highly invasive breast and prostate cancer cells1-12.
Ganodermic triterpenes have also been shown to suppress steroid 5α-reductase, which converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and has been shown to play an important role in the development of prostate cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The use of other steroid 5α-reductase inhibitors has been found to decrease the incidence of prostate cancer and G. lucidum would appear to be a promising candidate for further research in this regard.
Several in vitro studies using mushroom polysaccharides have also shown suppression of both androgen-dependent and -independent cell growth with a comparative study of aqueous extracts from 23 mushroom species, including G. lucidum, Trametes versicolor, Grifola frondosa, Ophiocordyceps sinensis, Agaricus subrufescens, Lentinula edodes and Hericium erinaceus, on androgen-independent PC-3 cells showing Pleurotus ostreatus and Flammulina velutipes to have the greatest cytotoxicity, significantly increasing cancer cell apoptosis13,14. Coprinus comatus has also been shown to reduce androgen and glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional activity in a dose dependent manner15.
In addition, an in vivo study using severely immunodeficient mice found A. subrufescens polysaccharides to directly inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cells via an apoptotic pathway and suppress prostate tumour growth via antiproliferative and antiangiogenic mechanisms16.
A 2002 clinical study of an L. edodes polysaccharide extract however, showed it to be ineffective in stopping the disease with no instances of regression and progression in 23 of 61 men over a 6 month period17.
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